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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Fueled by Oil and Natural Gas – Now and in the Future

oil and natural gas development  access  eia forecast  imports  economic growth  shale energy  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling  emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 14, 2015

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) new Annual Energy Outlook for 2015 contains a number of stats, charts and projections, but you could boil them down to a couple of important points.

First, oil and natural gas are and will continue to be the foundation of an all-of-the-above energy approach that’s key to continued U.S. economic growth, energy security and overall security. EIA says oil (36 percent) and natural gas (27 percent) supply 63 percent of America’s energy now, and EIA projects they will supply 62 percent in 2040 (oil 33 percent and natural gas 29 percent). This is because oil and natural gas are high in energy content, portable and reliable. They’re the workhorse fuels of the broader economy, making modern living possible as fuels and as the building blocks for a number of products Americans depend on every day. America is and will be dependent on a variety of energies, but oil and natural gas are and will play leading roles.

The great news is the U.S. is in the midst of a revolution in domestic oil and natural gas production, leading to a second big takeaway from EIA’s report – that domestic output is and will continue to reduce U.S. dependence on imported energy.

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Climate Doers

climate  greenhouse gases  greenhouse gas mitigation  co2 emissions  president obama  oil and natural gas development  american energy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 20, 2015

More unhelpful talk from the administration directed at America’s energy industry – strange, given the key role played by the oil and natural gas industry in the nation’s recovery from recession, in reducing oil imports, in making the U.S. more secure in the world and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all on the current administration’s watch.

It’s not that some in the administration haven’t noticed these positives. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at CSIS this week:

“… it’s no coincidence that our economic recovery has been accompanied by the biggest energy transformation of our lifetimes. The energy revolution we experienced in these last six years helped spur the recovery, but it’s also been accelerated by the policies our country put in place. Since 2008, American oil production has surged, from 5 million to 9 million barrels a day. And our dependence on foreign oil has fallen to its lowest level in more than 30 years. … These shifts in U.S. energy markets aren’t marginal or temporary. They are tectonic shifts …”

... Yet, in a recent interview President Obama talked about energy companies and climate change in adversarial, unproductive tones – echoing other administration messaging lately that borrows from the activist community. Like that messaging, these recent remarks are divorced from reality.

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21st-Century Energy

oil and natural gas development  energy future  emissions  economic benefits  Jack Gerard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 13, 2015

The language of issue activism can have drawbacks. Sound bites charged with political activism seldom set the stage for useful policy discussions.

The White House recently earned four “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post’s FactChecker for mirroring the anti-Keystone XL talk heard from those who want the U.S. to stop using oil.

Similarly, in a climate change speech at the Atlantic Council this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mischaracterized America’s energy reality, calling U.S. oil and coal “outdated energy sources.” Said Kerry, “Coal and oil are only cheap ways to power a nation in the very near term.”

Not according to those who get paid to quantify U.S. energy, now and in the future. In its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that oil and natural gas supplied 63 percent of U.S. energy in 2012, with coal supplying another 18 percent. EIA projects that oil and natural gas will supply 61 percent of our energy in 2040, with coal holding steady at 18 percent.

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Coming Clean: The President and ‘Dirty’ Keystone XL Oil

keystone xl pipeline  canadian oil sands  crude oil  greenhouse gas emissions  president obama 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 9, 2015

Apparently not content with the four Pinocchios he recently earned from the Washington Post for statements on the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama last week put in a bid for five with remarks aimed at the project’s environmental impact.

At an appearance in South Carolina, the president termed “extraordinarily dirty” the methods used to develop Canadian oil sands:

“The reason that a lot of environmentalists are concerned about it is the way that you get the oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil, and obviously there are always risks in piping a lot of oil through Nebraska farmland and other parts of the country.”

First, after more than six years of review by his administration, the president really should take the time to read the U.S. State Department’s environmental review of Keystone XL  – the latest of five that all have cleared the pipeline on environmental grounds. As well, energy consulting firm IHS found that Keystone XL and the oil sands it would deliver would have “no material impact” on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Food, Environmental Dilemmas of the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  environmental impact  ethanol  greenhouse gas emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 7, 2015

The politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are on display this weekend in Iowa, a key presidential primary state. Nothing against Iowa – or ethanol, for that matter – but the RFS illustrates that when you mix energy policy and politics bad public policy can result.

Certainly, the RFS shows the difficulty of trying to apply central planning to the marketplace, of trying to mandate consumer behavior. The RFS is a relic of the era of energy scarcity in the U.S. whose best intentions have been superseded by surging domestic oil and natural gas production.

Still, the RFS remains and along with it potential risks to the economy, vehicle engines and more. It also risks unintended consequences, including a moral/ethical dilemma over whether food should be turned into fuels, as well as concern for the environmental impact of corn ethanol production.

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American Oil, American Jobs

keystone xl pipeline  american energy  Economy  jobs  Energy Security  canadian oil sands  emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 27, 2015

President Obama, in an interview with a North Dakota television station, explaining why he continues to delay the Keystone XL pipeline:

“Part of the reason North Dakota has done so well is because we've very much been promoting domestic U.S. energy use. I've already said I'm happy to look at increasing pipeline production for U.S. oil. But Keystone is for Canadian oil. Sending it down to the Gulf. It bypasses the U.S., it estimated to create 250, maybe, 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing on American infrastructure for American jobs for American producers, and that's something we very much support.”

In the span of just six sentences, the president contradicts expert analysis of Keystone XL’s jobs and market impacts at least four times – about once for each breath.

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Good Energy Policy Key to Energy, Economic Growth

american energy  policy  growth  methane emissions  keystone xl pipeline  taxes  fracking 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted February 13, 2015

EIA Today in Energy: The United States, Canada, China, and Argentina are currently the only four countries in the world that are producing commercial volumes of either natural gas from shale formations (shale gas) or crude oil from tight formations (tight oil). The United States is by far the dominant producer of both shale gas and tight oil. Canada is the only other country to produce both shale gas and tight oil. China produces some small volumes of shale gas, while Argentina produces some small volumes of tight oil. While hydraulic fracturing techniques have been used to produce natural gas and tight oil in Australia and Russia, the volumes produced did not come from low-permeability shale formations.

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More Good News on Methane Emissions – Again

methane emissions  natural gas production  hydraulic fracturing  regulation  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 10, 2015

Standout findings in a new major field study on methane emissions from natural gas collection and processing facilities across 13 states, led by Colorado State University include a couple of points:

First, of 130 facilities that collect natural gas from production wells, remove impurities and deliver it to inter- and intrastate pipeline networks,  101 had methane loss rates below 1 percent – including 85 of the 114 gathering facilities and all 16 of the processing plants studied. Put another way, methane containment at these facilities is more than 99 percent.

Second, the majority of emissions resulted from abnormalities involving broken or faulty equipment – issues that are relatively easy to address.

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EPA and Prolonging Keystone XL’s Review

keystone xl pipeline  environmental protection agency  epa  economic benefits  canadian oil sands  greenhouse gas emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 3, 2015

After more than six years of delaying, blocking, sidetracking and goalpost-shifting on the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House clearly knows something about political football – specifically, using all of the above to keep Keystone XL on the drawing board and out of the ground.

It’s not a game to the American workers who’ve seen coveted jobs delayed, nor is it fun for the entire country, in terms of blocked economic stimulus and sidetracked energy security.

Now EPA is tagging in with an out-of-left-field assessment of the State Department’s final environmental review. We say that because State’s environmental report was completed a year ago – making five reviews that all basically said Keystone XL would not significantly impact the environment, climate or otherwise.  

While other involved federal agencies recently weighed in on the pipeline’s importance to U.S. national interests, EPA – at the 13th hour – says current crude oil prices make it important to “revisit” State’s environmental conclusions.

Nonsense.

Unfortunately, for an administration that has practically made a badge of honor out of stiff-arming Keystone XL – in the face of bipartisan congressional support and the broad favor of the American people – EPA is simply providing another excuse for the White House to continue doing nothing.

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America’s Energy Reality – and Potential

keystone xl  emissions  lng exports  Economy  jobs  arctic  alaska  policy 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 29, 2015

National Journal: Over the past six years, the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline has become a powerful symbol in the midst of a national debate over energy security and climate change. Opponents warn that construction would speed Canadian oil-sands development, which could spell "game over" for the planet. But despite its iconic status, Keystone would generate far fewer emissions than the nation's fleet of power plants, a source of emissions that the president has pledged to crack down on as part of his climate agenda.

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